For Immediate Release: April 1, 2015
Contact: Paul Gels, Communications Coordinator (617) 515-0531
Local Teens Encourage Young People to “Get Yourself Tested” This April
Get Real Teen Council video seeks to de-stigmatize STD testing
BOSTON— As part of the seventh annual GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign, local members of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts’ Central Massachusetts Get Real Teen Council (GRTC) released a video today urging people to get themselves tested. GYT is a month-long national campaign designed to promote sexual health and address the disproportionately high rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) - including HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea - among young people under 25.
With chapters in Boston and Worcester, GRTC members conduct comprehensive sexuality education workshops in schools, after-school programs, and at other community events. The Central Massachusetts GRTC is comprised of twelve 10-12th graders attending a variety of schools in the Worcester area (Doherty, Tech, South, Abbey Kelly Foster Charter Public School, Bancroft, and Millbury). Their video about STD testing is available here.
“Young people, like the GRTC members, are the best ambassadors to reach other young people and help spread the word about the importance of getting tested,” said Shira Cahn-Lipman, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) Manager of Youth and Professional Education. “At Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts we’re proud to offer affordable STD testing and treatment, sexuality education, and information, to help ensure that young people stay healthy and safe.”
Half of the estimated 20 million sexually transmitted diseases contracted each year occur among the under-25 age group, although they only represent one-quarter of the sexually active population. In Massachusetts in 2013, 64% of the chlamydia cases and 43% of the gonorrhea cases were reported in adolescents and young adults (ages 15-24).
“Talking about testing doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. The good news is that nearly all STDs, including HIV, are treatable and many are curable,” said Cahn-Lipman.
Research released last year suggests that the national GYT campaign successfully increased STD testing among young people, including a 71 percent increase in testing at Planned Parenthood health centers from 2008 to 2010.
As part of the effort to create the healthiest generation ever, Planned Parenthood works every day to reduce the rates of sexually transmitted diseases through education, testing, and treatment. Every year, Planned Parenthood health centers provide nearly 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
To find the Planned Parenthood health center nearest you, or to get more information on STDs and testing, visit plannedparenthood.org or call 1-800-230-PLAN.
Launched by PPLM in 2013, the Get Real Teen Council (GRTC) is a high school sexual health peer education program designed to empower teenagers to educate their peers, families, and communities about human sexuality and healthy decision making. The program inspires teens to use their voices to advocate for just and positive sexual attitudes and policies. This school year, the group is offering “Relationships, Communication and Consent” and “STIs and Protection Methods” workshops in schools and community organizations in Boston and Central Massachusetts. Both the Boston and Central Massachusetts GRTC’s are currently accepting applications for the 2015/16 school year.
Responding to the fact that young people account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) occurring in the U.S. each year — and most don’t know they are infected — the GYT campaign is a youthful, empowering social movement to encourage young people to get tested and treated, as needed, for STDs, including HIV. GYT seeks to increase awareness about STDs and how to prevent them, connects young people to STD testing services, and promotes a more open dialogue with partners and health care providers.
GYT was launched in April 2009 as an ongoing promotion under It’s Your (Sex) Life, a long-standing public information partnership of MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Supporting partners of GYT include: American College Health Association (ACHA), Kaiser Family Foundation, National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), MTV, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Technical consultation is provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Planned Parenthood provides a wide range of preventive health care services. More than 90 percent of what we do nationally is lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing and treatment. We are also proud to provide abortion services and we ensure that women have accurate information about all of their options. For 87 years, PPLM has protected and promoted sexual and reproductive health and rights through clinical services, education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.pplm.org.
April 01, 2015
April 02, 2015